Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: smooth and fun

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was recently refreshed, and it came out better for it. Well-equipped, smooth, and pleasant, we generally liked this compact and inexpensive crossover.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The 2.4 liter engine ( 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque) has an aggressive tip-in to make it feel more powerful at launch, which could require some dainty-footing; it was quick in daily driving, aided by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that dropped the gear ratio on demand.

Automatic full-time all wheel drive put power to the ground; sticking to FWD did hurt launches. Once moving, it’s easy to drive gently or, um, sportily. The car slows faster than usual when coasting, and has a slow crawl when idling in Drive. Still, it is quite good at choosing ratios, and has both paddle and manual shifters make it pretend to be a six-speed.… Read the rest

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Premier RS car review

The American-made Chevrolet Cruze boasts strong gas mileage, good handling, and just about ever safety and comfort item you can find on cars at twice the price. Buyers now have a single engine, a turbocharged 1.4, with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission; you can option up to an eight-inch center display and seven-inch trip computers. The top Premier model has a different rear suspension than the rest, a pricier multilink setup, and our review reflects the Premier experience.

2016 Chevy Cruze

The Cruze is surprisingly smooth on city streets, but almost uncomfortably firm on highways; we had the RS package and found we could whip around turns more than quickly enough for most people. That said, we consistently scraped the front on our driveway.

There was little wind noise, but a good deal of road noise on the highway (less around town).… Read the rest

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer: Fun, practical throwback

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer: Fun, practical throwback The Mitsubishi Lancer has a lot of high tech under the hood, but it also brings some of what we’ve been missing in the race for “refinement” and noise reduction. It has a relatively simple interior, comfortable seats, sporty ride, and good responsiveness; but it also has 1990s-style road noise and a good deal of wind noise at highway speeds.

Our test car had the all wheel drive system, unusual at such low prices ($22,830, but even the base ES has an AWD option). The all-drive Lancers have a 168 horsepower four-cylinder, though the base front wheel car has a smaller 2.0 liter engine (the 2.4 is still optional there).

mitsubishi lancer head on

The CVT never takes the 2.4 engine past its peak power, so you never feel it lag as you go up to redline; it also never takes it up to the redline, stopping somewhere between 5,000 and 5,500 rpm in our experience (it varied).… Read the rest

Is Your Car Really Insured? a review of classic-car insurance

by Neil Maken — used with permission


Bob W., a reader in Woodland Hills, California, wrote that he had called his classic car insurance company and asked if he would be covered if:

(1) He took an antique vehicle to a local restaurant for dinner.
(2) He drove to a local grocery store for a loaf of bread.
(3) Living in Los Angeles, he took a trip up the coast to San Francisco, staying in motels/hotels along the way.

He was told that he would not be covered in any of the above cases; which made me realize that I, too, use my antique cars for considerably more than just car shows and parades, and I wondered, “Am I covered?”

I mailed a letter outlining the scenarios presented by Bob W., to twelve insurance companies, including the “big company” names so well known to us, as well as a smaller insurance companies I found during an internet and collector-car periodical search.… Read the rest

Meet the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune: a ball of fun

faceThe Beetle is based on the Golf and Jetta, mainly a reskin of the popular-in-Europe compact cars; and it won me over from the first block, never really letting me down. The Beetle is quiet (until you reach highway speeds), smooth, and agile.

While the Volkswagen Beetle is low to the ground, it didn’t scrape on sharp ramps — and I don’t think it’s just because the Dune is around half an inch higher than other Beetles.

turbocharged engine

There are two engines, a 170 horsepower 1.8 turbo-four and a 210 horsepower 2.0 turbo-four. The 1.8 runs on regular gas, and is hooked up to an automated manual transmission (dual-clutch). It’s easy to drive gently and reap good mileage, but you can also floor it and, after a brief lag (if you’re already moving and are not in sport mode), fly away; and it delivers good economy — 25 city, 34 highway.… Read the rest

Eiko Clear Vision Supreme wtih Solex™ and other headlight bulbs: What works and what doesn’t

by Daniel Stern. Special to

eiko clear vision supreme with solux technologyThis is an article about a particular brand of headlight bulbs — Eiko Clear Vision Supreme with SoLux™ Technology — but before we get there, some backstory:

Not too long ago, the word most used, abused, and misused in the world of automotive lighting was “Xenon.” Every marketeer slapped “Xenon” on the package in hopes it would distract you out of questioning the high price (and usually short life) of the bulbs. Pesky facts (such as all halogen bulbs containing some xenon gas in their fill mix) didn’t matter; what was important was capitalizing on a usually-undeserved association with the high-intensity discharge—HID, popularly called “Xenon”—headlamps that were new at the time.

But HID headlamps aren’t new any more; LED headlamps are the latest new thing, and there’s no easy way to hook a marketing line effectively from halogen bulbs to LED headlamps.… Read the rest

Falcon: a modern American supercar (an interview with its creator)’s Marc Rozman talked with CEO Jeff Lemke about the Falcon F7, a modern American supercar to be built in Holly, Michigan. The car has a six-speed manual transmission with a 620 horsepower V8; the projected 0-60 is 3.6 seconds, with a top speed estimated at 200 mph. The car weighs less than 2,800 pounds and costs around $225,000. Despite the name, this is the first Falcon car.

Falcon F7 supercar

What did you do before making the Falcon?

Before this, I did aftermarket parts for the Dodge Viper, we did body kits and hard tops, and we still do them.

My first product was working with the guy who did the interior on this [the Falcon], and I did the rings around the original Viper RT-10 gauges. I helped him with the leather and things like that. But then when I owned my first Dodge Viper, I designed a 3 piece hard top that went in that went in the trunk because the first ones didn’t have windows and tops and all that.… Read the rest

A day at Bob Bondurant’s Grand Prix Racing School

by Ray Alexander, SRT8 racer and owner of the million mile van

Upon seeing the marked improvement of Dale Jr. driving a road course after going to the Bondurant School, I took a one-day course. Let me say that I am not a fan of Dale Junior, and certainly was not, no, never a fan of Dale Senior. I am a fan of one of the other NASCAR drivers that have taken training there.

racing course

I learned so much in the one-day school, and with the instructors encouraging us to take a 3 or 4-day course, I decided to do it. I always sign up at SEMA in order to get the 20% discount. There is a difference between cheap and frugal.

Bob Bondurant school Corvette

During the introductions, I said that I started driving at 11 and started speeding at 12.… Read the rest